Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The Farewell to Clarimonde
Adieu, Romauld! But thou canst not forget me.
Although no more I haunt thy dreams at night,
Thy hungering heart forever must regret me,
And starve for those lost moments of delight.
Naught shall avail thy priestly rites and duties,
Nor fears of Hell, nor hopes of Heaven beyond:
Before the Cross shall rise my fair form's beauties—-
The lips, the limbs, the eyes of Clarimonde.
Like gall the wine sipped from the sacred chalice
Shall taste to one who knew my red mouth's bliss,
When Youth and Beauty dwelt in Love's own palace,
And life flowed on in one eternal kiss.
Through what strange ways I come, dear heart, to reach thee,
From viewless lands, by paths no man e'er trod!
I braved all fears, all dangers dared, to teach thee
A love more mighty than thy love of God.
Think not in all His Kingdom to discover
Such joys, Romauld, as ours, when fierce yet fond
I clasped thee—kissed thee—crowned thee my one lover:
Thou canst not find another Clarimonde.
I knew all arts of love: he who possessed me
Possessed all women, and could never tire;
A new life dawned for him who once caressed me;
Satiety itself I set on fire.
Inconstancy I chained: men died to win me;
Kings cast by crowns for one hour on my breast:
And all the passionate tide of love within me
I gave to thee, Romauld. Wert thou not blest?
Yet, for the love of God, thy hand hath riven
Our welded souls. But not in prayer well conned,
Not in thy dearly-purchased peace of Heaven,
Canst thou forget those hours with Clarimonde.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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